Skip to Content

5 Favorite Plants For Fall Gardens

With the cool air of autumn also comes the need to update thew flowers in your gardens. For striking fall color, replace summer annuals with cold-loving flowers and foliage. Gardeners have a wide variety of choices for their container gardens or landscape beds. Here are the best plants for fall gardens.

Yellow, orange and burgundy chrysanthemums

Best Plants For Fall Gardens

Go for color, go for impact, says Chris Beytes, publisher and editor of GrowerTalks magazine, the country’s leading horticulture publication.

Beytes, a former greenhouse grower and longtime horticultural journalist encourages gardeners to choose plants with color that lasts. A few of his favorites, to use alone or in combination:

  1. garden mums (see how to prune mums)
  2. ornamental kale
  3. pansies and violas
  4. ornamental peppers
  5. ornamental grasses

1. Garden mums

Here’s one of my favorite mums on my front porch intertwined with a black-eyed Susan vine flower.

Gorgeous burgundy mums wiht a black eye susan in their midst

“They’re cliche, but a big full garden mum offers great bang for the buck,” he says. Try an oversize 1/2 bushel basket or 12-inch container, and look for plants with tight buds that will soon open into a burst of harvest color.

Three containers of mums in differnt colors

Group with pumpkins, gourds, and other accents for a warm effect.

2. Ornamental kale

Ornamental kale

Some may call them cabbage, but in reality, they’re all kale. And they offer a bounty of leaf shapes and colors. From forest or lime green to purple or burgundy pink, kale offers texture and color that can’t be beaten. And best of all, says Beytes, “These last well into frosty weather and only get more colorful with the cold.”

3. Pansies and violas

Multicolored pansies

Happy face pansies and their littler viola cousins have been gracing southern gardens for generations but are woefully underutilized north of the Mason-Dixon line.

In warm climates, their color will shine throughout winter; farther north, they also have great possibilities. “If heavily mulched, they’ll survive to bloom again next spring,” Beytes says. And their fantastic color range (orange, yellow, red, purple, burgundy, white and more) makes them perfect for any decor.

4. Ornamental peppers

Small colorful peppers

Fun and funky, ornamental peppers lend a kicky punch to any fall landscape choice. “Unusual, but they provide great red, orange and purple fruit colors for fall containers,” he says.

Plant large amounts together for a mass of color. Mix colors in large and small pots for front porch flair, or blend with mums or other fall favorites for even more harvest interest.

5. Ornamental grasses

Ornamental grass

Texture is king in today’s garden, and grasses have jumped to the forefront. Even better, they aren’t just summer players anymore. Their height and range of foliage colors, flowers, fringe, and more ups the interest as summers’ colors fade.

“A favorite is purple fountain grass, but there are many annual and perennial grasses with pretty brown or purple foliage,” Beytes says.

Whatever gardeners’ pleasure, fall offers a wealth of possibilities for any climate.

Favorite flowers for fall gardens pinterest image

What are your favorite plants for fall?

Best plants for fall gardens -  Pinterest image

Pin To Save For Later

How To Prune Mums For Awesome Autumn Blooms

Tuesday 1st of November 2022

[…] Want more fall flowers? Here are 5 plants every fall garden needs. […]

Beautiful Flower Garden Ideas

Thursday 4th of February 2021

[…] 5 Favorite Plants For Fall Gardens […]

Best Herbs To Grow In The Fall For Your Climate Zone

Wednesday 30th of October 2019

[…] Cooling weather doesn’t mean you should abandon your garden. There are many vegetables and herbs that do really well in the colder temperatures. The best herbs to grow in the fall depend on which area of the country you reside and where it falls in terms of climate zone. Take a look and see which herbs you’d like to plant this autumn. […]